Back just in time for its 15th anniversary, iZotope Vinyl is a plug-in that lets you simulate the dust, scratches, and warp of a worn record and the electrical and mechanical noise of the turntable it’s on. Give fresh recordings and instrument tracks the dirty, dusty feel of an earlier decade. You can apply Vinyl to any source audio to make it sound as if it’s being played from a record and dial in exactly the right character to suit your tune. Plus, it’s now updated to 64-bit!
The Spin Down button simulates slowly stopping playback of a record, modulating both playback speed and frequency. When used on the master bus, it can provide a dramatic overall effect as if someone has stopped the record playing. Within the context of a mix, it can add a unique but familiar effect when used on individual instruments or busses.
You can use Vinyl in film and television for treating audio to sound like it's coming from a vintage on-screen source. In this example, Vinyl is being used to make a song sound as if it is being played from an old radio.
You can find more examples here using the new iZotope Vinyl plug-in. You can download this free plug-in from iZotope. Existing owners will find a new serial number in their iZotope Accounts.
2. HOFA 4U Meter, Fader & MS-Pan
The HOFA 4U Meter, Fader & MS Pan is a free plug-in with so much going for it....
- Precise metering (peak, hold, EBU, LRA) - Although there is only one loudness meter in an instance of the plug-in, there is nothing stopping having 3 instances; one with the Integrated, a second with Short Term and a third displaying Momentary. Like the Avid Pro Limiter it only displays the EBU R128 scale so it is great for UK and Europe and any other territory that adopts the R128 standard. But it is still a useful guide for any other territory as the various versions of the standard are very close to each other.
- MS decoder - use this and then use conventional plug-ins to process using MS.
- Trim, fader and mute function
- Stereo-mono switch - use this on a Master fader to check your mono compatibility
- Analyze peak & EBU R128 levels via drag and drop of audio files
- Innovative panorama-function: this is the panner that you can also use for “more than stereo” panning
- Changeable plug-in window size - getting a little more common but very rare on free plug-ins.
- PC and Mac, 32 and 64 Bit DAWs
In this tutorial Mike also shows just one part of this feature strong free plug-in from HOFA, the MS Decoder. It is also an EBU R128 loudness meter. You could insert this plug-in ahead of a plug-in that you would like to process 'post fade' but normally can't because all inserts on Pro Tools tracks are pre-fade except for the Master track. With the free HOFA 4U plug-in ahead of the 'post fade' plug-in, automate the fader in the 4U plug-in instead of the fader on the Pro Tools track, job done!
3. Boz Digital Labs Bark Of The Dog
Bark of Dog is a bass resonance filter that is designed to enable you to increase your low end without turning up the flab. I like to think of it as a way to boost the low end while still keeping it under control. While the controls are super simple, the effect that this has on controlling the low end in a mix is pretty exciting. That said Boz Digital Labs are very honest about this plug-in and what it can. They say...
Truthfully, what you get here can be accomplished with pretty much any digital EQ plugin. The reason why I made a dedicated plugin for this is because even though I had the capability to put a resonant high pass filter on my tracks for the past 15 years using my stock EQ, the thought never occurred to me to try it. I read reviews on a certain plugin that claimed to enhance the low end with a resonant high pass filter, and everybody who tried it seemed to love it. Rather than spending loads of money on a big dongle and then more money on a plugin, I decided just to make my own.
Even though it is super simple, I think it lived up to it’s hype. I love this tool. It solved all my low end problems. Because this is a feature we all already have, I didn’t feel right about charging money for it. There are enough good new ideas to do that I don’t want to fall into the trap of repackaging old tricks. Think of this as more of a really helpful tip with a plugin to go along with it. If you don’t want to download this plugin, then at least open up your stock EQ and play with the resonance on your high pass filter. It made my life a lot easier, and I think it can make yours easier too.
4. Flux BitterSweet 3
Flux describe Bittersweet v3 as a free software processing tool for managing audio transients. Turning the big wheel button on the sweet side, decreases the transients amplitude. On the bitter side the transients amplitude is magnified.
BitterSweet v3 features a control for the signal to be processed. When the main position is engaged, the process affects the stereo signal. If Center is engaged, only the M signal of the internal MS matrix is processed. If stereo is selected, only the S signal from the MS matrix is processed.
Three transient detection modes can be selected. Varying periods of integration for transients can be accessed. A Link function is provided to compensate the output gain with respect to the transient processing setting.
5. Softube Saturation Knob
In this show and tell review Russ takes a look at the free Softube Saturation Knob on a mix to see just how good it is.
The free plug-in Saturation Knob is a modeled output distortion that can be used anywhere you need some grit. Use it to fatten up bass lines, add some harmonics and shimmer to vocals, or simply destroy your drum loop.
The three modes, Keep High, Neutral and Keep Low give you three kinds of characters of distortion. If you want to squash a drum loop but keep the bass drum fairly intact, you can for example use the Keep Low mode.
What About Yours?
So there are 5 free AAX plug-ins that we think are worth checking out. Do share which free plug-ins for Pro Tools you rate and don't forget we have our comprehensive database of free plug-ins too take a look at.